Student-centered Learning Curation

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ScoopIt Curation

Curating a ScoopIt Board on student-driven learning was probably one of my favorite assignments in the MET program so far! Our assignment required us to first create a checklist of 15+ criteria, “Based on your readings, develop a checklist of 15 to 20 criteria that will serve as a tool for assessing the quality and value of an education-related curated topic” with two other students in our class. After creating the checklist, we had to “Use a tool specific for curation (e.g, Scoopit, Educlipper, LessonPaths, PearlTrees), curate a topic of your choice, applicable to your content areas and/or grade level” and then use the criteria checklist to self-assess the value of my curated topic.

I chose to use ScoopIt as my curation tool. I looked at a variety of curation tools and felt ScoopIt offered a visually pleasing way to present my topic.  Student-centered learning has been an area I have wanted to investigate further and integrate into my teaching pedagogy, so I felt it was a good fit for this assignment. After reading through and assessing articles and multi-media related to my topic, I created my ScoopIt board based on our group’s criteria:

  • Seek Specific, Current Content: I made sure all of my content fit the specific category and chose articles written within the past 5 years.
  • Select Content with an Evaluative Eye: I looked for content that 
  • Think Critically: The content I chose gives a comprehensive look at student-centered learning and allows the viewers to explore the topic in depth.
  • Sort Content in a Meaningful Way and Arrange Collection in an Organized Manner: I arranged the content to flow from the ‘what’, to the ‘why’, to the ‘how’ of student-centered learning as I felt this was the most logical approach. 
  • Editorialize to Ensure Sources are Credible: The content is curated from reliable sources including educational journals and recognized experts in the field of education.
  • Create a Meaningful Story Out of Your Content: The content creates a storyboard that is easy to follow.
  • Share Content in an Accessible Way: ScoopIt is a content curation tool that allows direct connection and publication to social media sites.
  • Invite Viewers to Join the Conversation: By posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ I hope to generate a good conversation about this topic.

I hope to continue developing my understanding of the importance and value of student-centered learning and make it the framework of my teaching pedagogy.

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#Twitter #Hashtags for #PD

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.53.09 AMI can’t rave enough about the benefit of following #Twitter feeds for “just-in-time” professional development (PD)!  In the few years that I have been on Twitter, I have made new friends from around the world, built a supportive & informative PLN, and added multiple ideas to my “teacher’s toolbox”.  To say Twitter has revolutionized my teaching practice and philosophy may be an understatement!

Here are a few Twitter hashtags that I regularly follow:

  • #BFC530 – BFC stands for ‘The Breakfast Club’ and we chat every morning at 5:30amEST!! Each morning, a focus question is posted and the attendees of the chat spend a few minutes responding.  The questions are always encouraging and thought-provoking; the educators, always positive and supportive.  Today’s question was: “What PD books are on your agenda this summer?” Now I have a list of about 20 more books I want to read this summer!! We usually wrap up by 5:45am.  I can’t think of a better way to start my day!
  • #TeachMindful – This is another joy booster. The idea behind #TeachMindful is ‘a Twitter Chat about creating mindful learning environments for students. Bringing calm and focus to the classroom#’ Teaching is all about the kids and #TeachMindful reminds me where my focus should be each day.
  • #edtechchat – This is a great feed for all things EdTech. The collaborators share resources, links, and ideas for integrating EdTech into your curriculum. Just this morning this link was shared: Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.06.44 AM

Now my mind is buzzing with how to add this to our 6th grade world geography curriculum! The podcasts and guides for adding digital curriculum to the classroom have inspired me to continue pursuing excellence in my edtech journey.

  • #SummerLearning – This is a hashtag that I just recently started to follow. Because I am enrolled in grad school this summer and am working on curriculum development for my school, I thought it would be great to see what Twitter has to say about Summer Learning. Just this morning, I found this link to a post about grammar. Even though I currently teach 6th grade science and world geography, the English teacher in me is always in-tune to spelling and grammar errors. The link includes a description of five of the top grammar feeds to follow on Twitter. Fun!
  • #EdChat – This hashtag helps keep me up-to-date in the world of education. Timely news stories and recent educational reform are often topics of discussion. Today this handy chart explaining differentiation (always a hot topic at faculty meetings:) was posted: Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.39.42 AM

As you can hopefully see from this post, Twitter is my preferred method of PD.  Rather than sit in an hour long faculty meeting discussing topics of little interest (sorry admin:~), I can spend an hour (or more:) following hashtags and come away with new perspectives and inspiration. One word of warning: Twitter can quickly become OVERWHELMING! I find myself jumping from link to link and before I know it, hours have passed by. I try to limit my time on Twitter but I find so many great ideas that oft times I have 20+ tabs open and my brain is whirling in all different directions.  Does anyone have a # for that?!?!

Acceptable Use Policies

If you teach, work, or attend any type of educational institution in the US, then you probably use some form of technology every day. In Scholastic’s Using Technology article, it is stated, “There are many benefits to using the Internet in elementary and intermediate education, but it is important for you to harness this powerful tool so that it is effective and safe for student use.” (“Why Have a Technology Policy,” n.d.) With the integration of technology into educational systems, it has become necessary for schools to write and implement an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is a formal document outlining appropriate use and maintenance of school owned technology devices, personal computers, mobile devices, and the use of the Internet for school purposes. Common Sense Media explains, “Similar to a Terms of Service document, an AUP should define publicly what is deemed acceptable behavior from users of hardware and information systems such as the Internet and any applicable networks.” (1-to-1 Essentials,” n.d.) These policies can be found in parent/student handbooks, faculty handbooks, and on school or district websites.  Students, teachers, and staff are required to sign the document each year stating that they will abide by the school’s policies regarding technology. Many school districts have safety nets such as anti virus software and web filters, but these precautions can still have gaps.  Educational institutions have the responsibility to protect the personal safety and privacy of educators and students. That is why an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is so important.

Acceptable Use Policies can vary in content but most policies contain similar rules and guidelines. Some school’s AUPs may be only a few pages long, while other’s may encompass over 20 pages.  Regardless of the length, a thorough AUP should include:

  • The institution’s mission and philosophy statement
  • A definition of technology as it applies to the educational institution
  • The school’s level of responsibility in protecting personal devices (both hardware and software)
  • Both acceptable and unacceptable use of technology
  • Specific Internet usage guidelines
  • Rules on the use of social media
  • Guidelines on digital citizenship
  • Rules regarding cyberbullying
  • Rules regarding passwords and sharing of computer codes
  • Rules regarding copyright laws
  • Expectations of behavior regarding network accounts
  • Guidelines regarding the downloading and installation of software on school-owned devices
  • Consequences for not following the AUP

In addition, the educational institution should clearly define plagiarism and the consequences for representing any other work or idea as one’s own.  Not properly citing sources is a form of plagiarism.

Some examples of Acceptable Use Policies:

Calvary Christian Academy, Philadelphia, PA (p.21)

This is the AUP for the school where I teach. It is limited to one page in the handbook and while it contains most of the components of a good AUP, it is rather general in nature.  Our IT department is extremely protective and cautious when it comes to technology use at our school. Student access to the internet is limited and BYOD is only considered under special circumstances.  I expect our AUP to evolve over the next few years as technology use becomes a more regular and intentional part of our curriculum.

Neshaminy School District, Langhorne, PA

This is the AUP for the school district I attended for elementary school through high school.  It is a very detailed 23 page document.  Internet use is clearly discussed including a section defining key terms and specific laws and responsibilities are explained in detail. It is one of the most content specific AUPs that I found.

Lower Moreland School District, Huntington Valley, PA

For a rather large school district in my area, this is a rather brief AUP. Most components of a typical AUP are included, but no detail or explanation is included.  I did note below that they have a separate BYOD policy.

Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Bensalem, PA (p.52-54)

This AUP is from a local Catholic prep school. It is included in their student handbook. It is fairly brief but clearly covers all components of a typical AUP.  Consequences for misuse are clearly defined.

Delaware County Christian School, Delaware County, PA

This AUP is from a school similar is size and scope to my own.  The AUP clearly defines the school’s values when it comes to technology use.  I did find it interesting that they do not support student owned devices at this time. They make it clear that their policies on technology are still a work in progress.

Finally, with more and more schools implementing bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, some districts have added a BYOD document.  One example would be Lower Moreland School District in Pennsylvania.

LMSD BYOD Policy

Resources:

1-to-1 Essentials – Acceptable Use Policies | Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups

Education World: Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Why Have a Technology Policy in Your School or Library? | Librarians | Scholastic.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm